Monday, 3 April 2017

The growing season is well underway.

If you want me, I'll be outside getting on with the growing season!  That's how this last whirlwind of a week has felt.  We are out of the starting blocks and in it for the long run. 
April is the month when even more seeds can be sown and there can be a false sense of security weather wise when we're sat in the baking (ok, warmer) sun, without the need for jackets or gloves. 
I've noticed new growth all around, replacing the snowdrops and early daffs.  However don't be fooled. April has seen snow in the past so those of us growing our own need to be ready to deal with it if it's forecast.  To lose seedlings or plants now after nurturing from seed as far back as January would be devastating.
We've been working hard on the new orchard (mini orchard) and feel it is really getting there.  What do you think?
It's hard to see in the above photo, as I was trying to capture the width of the plot.  The back trellis shows the 10 apple trees we planted on a 45 degree angle and a couple of them are already showing growth.  The conference pear tree (below) is growing ridiculously fast.  These leaves were not there last week!
We have managed to get all but two of the soft fruit bushes in that are going here.  Two are outstanding as they've not been delivered yet.  So far we have 2 varieties of cranberry (mountain and ), a honeyberry, 2 varieties of blueberry (north county and aurora).  We have a pink lemonade blueberry, billberry and goji berries due soon.  There's also another 3 blueberries (Duke) that are going in another part of the veg plot.
The soft fruit has been spaced out around the other fruit trees and planted in large holes filled with ericaceous compost where needed.  For those who don't know, blueberries amongst other fruit bushes don't like "normal" soil.  You can buy the ericaceous  soil at garden centres or some people make their own.  I'm short on time for this planting, but plan to top them up with home made stuff.
Blossom is coming thick and fast on the new fruit trees and I hope it's a good sign of the harvest to come!
 
The greenhouse is well and truly filling up.  My problem now is trying to keep it cool when I am at work.  The doors can be left open but I have to put the mesh door on to stop the chickens going in and eating everything!
My blackcurrant cuttings have rooted but the red and white aren't doing much.  Also a raspberry runner that I severed and rooted to see what would happen.
The PSB, caulis, calabrese, cabbage, corn salad, carrots, leeks, onions and sunflowers are all looking great.  The tomatoes are growing strong and need to be potted on this weekend before they become pot bound.
I've sown more of everything to try and harvest everything at staggered intervals.  Some peas and broadbeans went in directly outside at the weekend, as did a tester row of carrots and beetroot.  Inside the polytunnel I have lettuce, swiss chard, kale, peas, beans, potatoes (earlies) and some marigolds to deter nasty bugs away from my food!  The marigolds are sacrificial plants, no holds barred in this game!
I've also got half of my potatoes in to their new beds and a full bed of red and white onions.  I have underestimated how much space I will need for the potatoes though, so I need to come up with an alternate solution!
Finally here's another addition to the fruit and veg area.  A tea plant (Camellia sinensis).  Steven drinks a lot of green tea for its health benefits and I try to every now and again.  I thought it'd be nice to grow our own.  After all, the idea is to be as self sufficient and self reliant as possible.
 
 
I hope you're all enjoying the sun which we seem to be having in fits and spurts.  I'm not complaining one bit!  It's starting to dry the fields out just in time for the horses to go back on them and it can't come soon enough!
 
 

16 comments:

  1. We have rain here in the south east, gardens are now watered, sunshine is promised later today and the rest of the week. Perfect weather for our gardens. You are busy, but right to keep an eye on the weather fore caste.

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    1. We had torrential rain on Saturday afternoon which caused flash flooding locally but thankfully we were not affected. The weather is a crazy thing!

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  2. Lots of seedlings here, the benches are filling up, I had a walk round the orchard yesterday lots of new growth appearing your growing areas are looking good, exciting times

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    1. It's a lovely sight isn't it :) before the harvesting madness starts!

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  3. Isn't it just fab to be able to go out and get stuff done? I know what you mean about trying to capture a picture when you see it much better yourself. You encouraged me to have a little look around things in the garden this morning. Your bench of seedlings looks fab! Ha!I'm growing marigolds for the very same reason! Wish I knew the name of my blueberries but never mind.

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    1. I love it, especially staying out so late! Where did you get your blueberries from, the T&M offer? x

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    2. Yes, can you tell me what they are as you bought them, too? I'm getting quite good at writing down varieties but sometimes forget in my haste to do stuff!

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    3. Yes they were the Duke variety :D which can grow to 2m high! Apparently x

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  4. It's so nice to finally start planting. I love marigolds and although they smell stinky they make a VERY good homemade wine (tastes like dandelion wine). Just a thought. ;)

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    1. well I never!! Thank you for that idea!! I might have to just try it. Yes they have a very distinct smell LOL

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  6. I hope that it is a great year in the garden for you!

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    1. Oooh thank you - I do too! So exciting.

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  7. I always think about growing tea for my wife but never got round to it. Love a full greenhouse in April, mine are getting there!

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    1. Fingers crossed it works! I do too, a sign of future harvests :D

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